Aquaman is gearing up for its imminent holiday release with new character posters featured in Entertainment Weekly. Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—it doesn’t matter if this movie is good because it’s a goddamn gift. Exhibit A: This movie has Dolph Lundgren riding a magic sea horse. If you didn’t just stop and laugh for five minutes, let me repeat that. THIS MOVIE. HAS DOLPH LUNDGREN. RIDING. A MAGIC. SEA HORSE.
But wait, there’s more! Because there is also Jason Momoa in Aquaman’s classic and goofy gold and green armor—something I doubt we would have seen under the tenure of Zack Snyder. I feel like the poster probably says he is “Arthur Curry” but all I am reading is “SURF MANMEAT”. And see Nicole Kidman all done up as Aquaman’s mother, Queen Atlanna. I actually really like this. I have no jokes about Nicole Kidman. This is an A+ fantasy queen look. Although the five-dent remains ludicrous, even if it is Nicole Kidman’s weapon of choice.
And we’re still not done! Because there is also Patrick Wilson with his Man Bun Wig stuffed under a helmet, and also Willem Dafoe photoshopped so drastically I have to ask how old this movie thinks Willem Dafoe is. (Actually, how old does ANY movie think Willem Dafoe is? He’s playing thirty-seven-year-old Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate.) And Amber Heard is exploited much the way Scarlett Johansson usually is on Marvel posters. There’s a Black Widow joke here, but honestly, on this poster Heard looks exactly like Lili Reinhart from Riverdale except with red hair. I remain profoundly uninterested in the villain, Black Manta, especially in the face of DOLPH LUNDGREN RIDING A MAGIC SEA HORSE.
But seriously, Aquaman is probably sunk. Besides the lack of enthusiasm for DC movies other than Wonder Woman, it’s fighting an uphill battle at the December box office. With no Star Wars to contend with, studios rushed to fill the void and now we have a glut of big holiday releases, guaranteeing at least one will fail. Aquaman opens against Bumblebee, which is targeting the same audience, and also Mary Poppins Returns, which is the movie that will likely dominate the holiday box office. And even if Aquaman can get a toehold against Bumblebee, just the week before Sony is launching their first animated Spider-Man film, Into the Spider-Verse, which looks ADORABLE and could poach the segment of the audience hungry for superheroes.
So it’s a very crowded landscape not even counting Jennifer Lopez’s return to rom-coms, Second Act, Peter Jackson’s for-sure bomb Mortal Engines, and the glut of grown-up prestige movies vying for attention. At this point in the DC apathy cycle, Aquaman was always going to be a tough sell, but amidst all this December competition, it’s going to take a flock of battle lobsters to eke out a win. Herd of battle lobsters? What’s the collective noun for battle lobsters? A terror of battle lobsters? Aquaman might bomb, but bless it for bringing this joy into my life.